27 Nov 2011

Pakistan Drones - Double Standards

Health and safety American style, Sara Palin celebrates thanksgiving, is she really out of the race for president? And as the US drone strikes continue to kill civilians, we talk to the coordinator of Imran Khan's political party in Pakistan.

Why “We Are Already In The Second Great Depression” Steve Keen On Parasitic Bankers, Deluded Economists

Sarah Montague talks to Steve Keen, one of the few economists to have predicted the global financial crisis, about the possibility of another Great Depression, and how to avoid it. 'Another Great Depression is all but inevitable' - that's the view of Steve Keen. He's been called the 'Merchant of Gloom', but he's one of the few economists to have predicted the global financial crisis. While he used to be a lone voice in challenging the economic consensus, more and more people are now listening to him. His way of avoiding depression? Write off the debt, bankrupt the banks, nationalise the financial system, and start all over again. He talks to Sarah Montague. Source

Kosovo Serbs apply en masse for Russian citizenship

Thousands of Kosovo Serbs have applied for Russian citizenship. This has raised eyebrows in the Russian parliament in particular, but their chances of being granted Russian citizenship remain unclear.

The chairman of the Russian parliament's standing committee on foreign affairs, Konstantin Kossatchov, described it as "a key development in the history of Europe." The Russian foreign ministry has confirmed that thousands of Kosovo Serbs have applied for Russian citizenship. The reason: They fear for their safety. The word out of Moscow was that the applications were being "checked carefully."
Kossatchov doesn't believe that these Kosovo Serbs actually want to emigrate to Russia. He sees it as "a political action," as a cry for help from "desperate people, who have been left in the lurch by the local authorities, Belgrade and Brussels." Kossatchov sees this as confirmation that Russia's position on the Kosovo question was the right one. Moscow strongly criticized Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 and still has not recognized it as an independent state. Source

Devastating effects of Gaza siege - Remember Palestine

The latest findings by Medecins Sans Frontiers show that in Gaza thirty six percent of essential medicines are lacking. Shortage of drugs and medical supplies represent a real threat to patient health. 

The situation, which had been worsening steadily for several years, deteriorated further in 2011 and has reached an alarming level.

In this edition of the show we will look at how the Gaza blockade prevents healthcare provision for those living in the strip and keeps the poverty level high. 

Incestuous Web of Interlocking Relationships BBC AGW Journalists and University’s Scientists

By DAVID ROSE: Britain’s leading green activist research centre spent £15,000 on seminars for top BBC executives in an apparent bid to block climate change sceptics from the airwaves, a vast new cache of leaked ‘Climategate’ emails has revealed. The emails – part of a trove of more than 5,200 messages that appear to have been stolen from computers at the University of East Anglia – shed light for the first time on an incestuous web of interlocking relationships between BBC journalists and the university’s scientists, which goes back more than a decade.
They show that University staff vetted BBC scripts, used their contacts at the Corporation to stop sceptics being interviewed and were consulted about how the broadcaster should alter its programme output. Read more at source

'More bloodshed tomorrow': Arab League tightens noose on Syria

"In A Sudden Crisis Gold & Silver May be All People Can Think of" - Jim Rogers

"Bonds are the Biggest Bubble in the World Right Now" - Doug Casey

Striking Hypocrisy: Eurocrats live in bubble as people suffer debt

It's been one of the toughest weeks yet for the European Union, as markets deem Italy increasingly unfit to weather the current economic storm.Interest on Italy's debt has hit 7.8 percent - unimaginable just a few months ago, and above the level that triggered meltdowns in other Eurozone nations. The shockwave saw ratings agencies downgrade Hungary and Portugal's debt to junk status, and warn there's more to come. A number of Italian banks were also dealt a ratings blow, as EU leaders pledged more cuts to combat the crisis. But in the Eurocrat capital of Brussels, leading by example doesn't seem to be taking hold, as Tessa Arcilla reports. Source

Pakistan to ‘Completely Review’ Ties with US

Pakistan says it is reviewing its relations with the US and NATO and has taken “urgent action” after a NATO attack on Friday killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. A key Afghan border has been sealed and the US ordered to quit an air-base in the country.
NATO helicopters allegedly fired on a checkpoint in northwest Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal area near the Afghan border.
The decision to review relations was taken at an urgent meeting of Pakistan’s government defense committee with the participation of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and top military and government leaders.
In a statement, officials said “the government will revisit and undertake a complete review of all programs, activities and co-operative arrangements with US/NATO/ISAF, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence.”
Islamabad condemned what it called an unprovoked attack” by NATO helicopters. The statement called for strong and urgent action against those responsible for this aggression.”
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, has told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the incident has negated progress in improving the tattered alliance between the US and her country. AP quoted Khar as saying the attack was unacceptable and showed complete disregard for human life. She added that it had provoked rage among Pakistan’s citizens.
For her part, Clinton expressed sympathy over the incident and promised the US would work together with Pakistan as NATO conducts an investigation into the incident. NATO has not officially claimed any responsibility so far.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has expressed his condolences, calling what happened on the border a tragic accident, Interfax reports. He said he had written to the Pakistani prime minister saying the deaths of Pakistan’s soldiers are as tragic and unacceptable as losses among the Afghan or international coalition.
Pakistan has cut a key NATO supply route to Afghanistan in the wake of the strike. Islamabad has also demanded that the US Air Force abandon Shamsi military airbase in Belujistan within 15 days in an official memorandum of the defense committee headed by Pakistan’s prime minister.  
Pakistani truck drivers carrying supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan say they are now worried about militant attacks following the border closure. Nearly 300 trucks were stranded at the country’s two Afghan border crossings on Sunday after Islamabad decided to block the coalition’s supplies. Drivers say they hardly slept all night, fearing possible attacks. Suspected militants destroyed about 150 trucks a year ago after Pakistan closed the Torkham crossing for about 10 days following a similar incident.
The 24 soldiers killed in the assault were buried on Sunday, with a prayer ceremony for the deceased at the headquarters of the regional command in Peshawar being televised. The coffins were draped in green and white Pakistani flags. Two officers were reported to be among the dead.
About 500 members of Jamaat-e-Islami – Pakistan’s most influential religious party – staged a protest, yelling “Down with America” and “Jihad is the only answer to America”, Reuters reports. The rally took place in the Mohmand tribal area where the attack occurred. 
They attacked our post and killed soldiers while they were asleep without any reason,” a senior Pakistani officer told Reuters.
Around 40 troops were stationed at the outposts at the time of the attack, military sources said. Source

'Anthrax isn't scary at all compared to this': Man-made flu virus

The potential to wipe out many millions if it ever escaped is created in research lab

  • Scientist responsible is bracing himself for a media storm
  • Just five tweaks to H5N1 makes it more contagious
  • Contagious version of bird flu could cause pandemic
  • Scientists divided over whether findings can be released
A group of scientists is pushing to publish research about how they created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilisation. The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time. The research has caused a storm of controversy and divided scientists, with some saying it should never have been carried out.

Deadly: The new strain could wipe out millions of people at a time
Deadly: The new strain of bird flu could wipe out millions of people at a time

The current strain of H5N1 has only killed 500 people and is not contagious enough to cause a global pandemic.
But their are fears the modified virus is so dangerous it could be used for bio-warfare, if it falls into the wrong hands.
Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily.
He conducted his tests on ferrets as the animals have become a model of choice for influenza and have similar respiratory tracts to humans.
Fouchier is so prepared for a media storm that he has hired an advisor to help him work on a communication strategy.
The research done was part of an international drive to understand H5N1 more fully.
Fouchier admitted the strain is 'one of the most dangerous viruses you can make' but is still adamant he wants to publish a paper describing how it was done.
The study is one of two which has caused serious debate about scientific freedom and about regulating research which might have potential public health benefits but at the same time could also be useful for bio-terrorism.
The other paper, also on H5N1, was done by a joint team at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Tokyo. 
It is understood to have had comparable results to the study done by Fouchier.
Dangerous: It is feared if new details of the avian flu is published, it could be used for bioterrorism
Dangerous: It is feared if new details of the avian flu is published, it could be used for bioterrorism
Both papers are now being reviewed by the U.S National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB).
NSABB does not have the power to prevent the publication but it could ask journals not to publish.
Paul Keim, chairman of NSABB, said: 'I can't think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one. I don't think anthrax is scary at all compared to this.'
Traditionally scientific research has always been open so that fellow scientists can review the work of others and repeat their methods to try and learn from them.
But numerous scientists have said they believe research on the avian flu should be suppressed.
However bio-defense and flu expert Michael Osterholm, who is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of innesota, said the work carried out was important medically.
He added he could not discuss the papers because he was a member of NSABB but said if they were published certain information could be withheld and made available to those who really need to know.
'We don't want to give bad guys a road map on how to make bad bugs really bad,' he said. Source

Iran 'is ready for war' threatens to hit Turkey if US and Israel attack

On the attack: Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was in the Libyan City of Benghazi today where he made the commentsIran's foreign minister declared the country was ‘ready for war’ with Israel and the West. Ali Akbar Salehi warned that Tehran would ‘not hesitate to retaliate if attackedForeign Secretary William Hague urged Israel’s defence minister not to fan the flames during top-level talks in London.

On the attack: Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was in the Libyan city of Benghazi today where he made the comments Source


Iran threatens to hit Turkey if US, Israel attack

Tehran: Iran will target NATO's missile defense installations in Turkey if the US or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic, a senior commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said on Saturday. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards' aerospace division, said the warning is part of a new defense strategy to counter what he described as an increase in threats from the US and Israel. Source

"the failure of neoclassical macroeconomics to foresee the crisis" Steve Keen Cambridge Lecture 2011 plus questions

Uploaded by 
This longer video includes the same topics as my other Cambridge lecture (description reproduced below) plus the Q&A session with the audience. The lecture covers the failure of neoclassical macroeconomics to foresee the crisis (and the attempt by neoclassicals to avoid the consequences of this failure), the key reason why they are wrong about its persistence (the endogeneity of money), Minsky's "Financial Instability Hypothesis", my initial models of that Hypothesis, the development of a method to produce strictly monetary models of capitalism, and an overview of my multi-sectoral monetary model of production.

U.S. will become a post industrial neo-3rd-world country by 2032.

The United States is increasingly similar to a 3rd world county in several ways and is accelerating towards 3rd world status. Economic data indicate a harsh reality that obviates mainstream political debate. The evidence suggests that, without fundamental reforms, the U.S. will become a post industrial neo-3rd-world country by 2032.
Fundamental characteristics that define a 3rd world country include high unemployment, lack of economic opportunity, low wages, widespread poverty, extreme concentration of wealth, unsustainable government debt, control of the government by international banks and multinational corporations, weak rule of law and counterproductive government policies. All of these characteristics are evident in the U.S. today.
Detroit LotOther factors include poor public health, nutrition and education, as well as lack of infrastructure.Public health and nutrition in the U.S., while below European standards, stand well above those of 3rd world countries.American public education now ranks behind poorer countries, like Estonia, but remains superior to that of 3rd world countries. While crumbling infrastructure can be seen in cities across America, the vast infrastructure of the United States cannot be compared to a 3rd world country. However, all of these factors will rapidly deteriorate in a declining economy.
Unemployment and Lack of Economic Opportunity
Falling Real Wages and Household Incomes
Growing Poverty
Increasing Concentration of Wealth
Welcome to the 3rd World

The United States is quickly becoming a post industrial neo-3rd-world country. Partly as a consequence of worsening unemployment and lack of economic opportunity, falling real wages and household incomes, growing poverty and increasing concentration of wealth, the U.S. government faces a historic fiscal crisis. Dominant corporate influence over the U.S. government, particularly by large banks, weakening rule of law at the federal level and destructive tax policies are compounding the economic problems facing the United States.
Barring fundamental reforms or a hyperinflationary collapse of the U.S. dollar (due to the fiscal problems of the U.S. government), the deterioration of the U.S. economy will continue and accelerate. As the U.S. economy continues its decline, public health, nutrition and education, as well as the country’s infrastructure, will visibly deteriorate and the 3rd world status of the United States will become apparent.
Disclosure: I am long NGDAG.

$707,568,901,000,000: Total Outstanding Derivatives Up By A Record $107 Trillion In 6 Months

While everyone was focused on the impending European collapse, the latest soon to be refuted rumors of a quick fix from the Welt am Sonntag notwithstanding, the Bank of International Settlements reported a number that quietly slipped through the cracks of the broader media. Which is paradoxical because it is the biggest ever reported in the financial world: the number in question is $707,568,901,000,000 and represents the latest total amount of all notional Over The Counter (read unregulated) outstanding derivatives reported by the world's financial institutions to the BIS for its semi-annual OTC derivatives report titled "OTC derivatives market activity in the first half of 2011." Said otherwise, for the six month period ended June 30, 2011, the total number of outstanding derivatives surged past the previous all time high of $673 trillion from June 2008, and is now firmly in 7-handle territory: the synthetic credit bubble has now been blown to a new all time high. What is probably just as disturbing is that in the first 6 months of 2011, the total outstanding notional of all derivatives rose from $601 trillion at December 31, 2010 to $708 trillion at June 30, 2011. A $107 trillion increase in notional in half a yearNeedless to say this is the biggest increase in history. So why did the notional increase by such an incomprehensible amount? Simple: based on some widely accepted (and very much wrong) definitions of gross market value (not to be confused with gross notional), the value of outstanding derivatives actually declined in the first half of the year from $21.3 trillion to $19.5 trillion (a number still 33% greater than US GDP). Which means that in order to satisfy what likely threatened to become a self-feeding margin call as the (previously) $600 trillion derivatives market collapsed on itself, banks had to sell more, more, more derivatives in order to collect recurring and/or upfront premia and to pad their books with GAAP-endorsed delusions of future derivative based cash flows. Because derivatives in addition to a core source of trading desk P&L courtesy of wide bid/ask spreads (there is a reason banks want to keep them OTC and thus off standardization and margin-destroying exchanges) are also terrific annuities for the status quo. Just ask Buffett why he sold a multi-billion index put on the US stock market. The answer is simple - if he ever has to make good on it, it is too late. Source

Max Keiser @ The Kings Head, London

Essential knowledge for a Wall St protestor. David Icke